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Portugal Expat Travel Blogger interview
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After my third expat travel blogger interview with Ed of Malta Uncovered, here’s my fourth one!

Name: James Cave

Current Location: Lisbon, Portugal

(Original) Home Location: Cork, Ireland

Age: 32

Travel Blog: Portugalist

Introduction: What is your name? Where do you come from and where do you live now?

My name is James, I was born and raised in Cork, Ireland. I currently live in Portugal.

1. Why did you decide to become a blogger? What do you love most about blogging?

I started blogging about Portugal because I felt like I would get more out of my time in Portugal if I was running a blog. I felt like it would encourage me to visit more places and to really get to know Portugal in an in-depth way.

That’s definitely been true. One of the challenges of running a single-country blog is that you really have to be an expert on that country. People expect your content to be a lot more in-depth than someone who blogs about everywhere in the world, and it’s important that you meet their expectations.

I love getting e-mails from people who say that what I’ve written has helped them. I also love having a business that I run myself rather than working for clients. There are stresses that come with that, of course, but I think the freedom it gives outweighs that.  

2. What is your ‘day job’? How do you combine that with travel blogging?

Before I started blogging full-time, I worked as an online marketing consultant. Basically, I helped other people get more traffic to their websites. That kind of knowledge is definitely very useful when you’re running a blog, but it’s not enough by itself. You can only get so far with marketing: what you’re promoting actually has to be good as well.

Expat interview James from Ireland - Portugal - Chamelle Photography Travel blog

3. When was the moment that you realised you really love travelling and want to do it for the rest of your life?

I knew from an early age that I wanted to see a lot of the world, but I don’t think I ever thought I’d be on the road for as long as I have been. I always thought I’d settle down at some point, and then take smaller trips, but there’s still so many places that I want to live in rather than just visit.

4. Why did you move to Portugal? How long do you plan to stay there?

Although I’ve been on the road for around 7 years, I’ve lived in Portugal several times during that stint. I have family ties here as well: my family live in the South of Portugal, and I actually lived in the North of Portugal as a child. There’s something about Portugal that has kept drawing me back and, even though there’s still a lot of the world that I want to see, I’ve decided to make Portugal my base.

Expat interview James from Ireland - Portugal - Chamelle Photography Travel blog

5. What do you like most about living in Portugal?

The weather is definitely a pro. Although I grew up in a very grey country, I’ve gotten used to blue skies and don’t know if I could go back.

Portugal has its grey days too, of course, but it’s usually only a few more days before you get blue skies again.  

6. What do you like least about living in Portugal?

Although there are a lot of pros to living in Portugal, there are cons as well (which I discuss in more depth here).

For me, it’s probably the integration. This isn’t specific to Portugal: any country where there’s a different language makes it difficult to integrate. Portuguese people tend to have their circles as well, and getting accepted into those circles can be difficult. Even for Portuguese people who move to another part of Portugal it can be different and, again, this isn’t specific to Portugal either. A lot of countries, especially Southern European countries, are like this.

7. Which is the favourite place you’ve travelled to and why?

I spent about three months in South Africa recently, and I really liked it. The people were friendly, and the scenery and nature were incredible. It’s obviously quite a complex country politically, but it’s one that I’d really like to get to know better.

Park in Madeira Spain Expat interview James from Ireland - Portugal - Chamelle Photography Travel blog

8. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I love big cities, so it would probably be somewhere like New York or maybe even Berlin (which I have lived in).

9. What things do you miss most from home (Ireland)?

The longer I don’t live in Ireland, the less I miss things from Ireland. In the beginning, I really missed Tayto crisps, Clonakilty black pudding, and Barry’s tea. If I knew someone that was going over to Ireland, I would often ask them to pick those things up.

These days, the only thing I occasionally get a craving for is Irish soda bread.  It’s very easy to make (if you can get your hands on buttermilk).

10. What things do you NOT miss from home (Ireland)?

I don’t miss the weather, which is usually pretty wet and grey. The sunshine is one of the biggest pros of living in Portugal, and seeing those blue skies really does make a difference to your mental health.

I also don’t miss the cost of everything. Ireland is a very expensive country to live in, even if you earn an Irish salary, and it’s nice to be somewhere where it’s easier to make ends meet.

Portuguese salaries are very low, but the important things like a cup of coffee or a glass of wine are very affordable: a bica (espresso) will set you back as little as €0.50 while a glass of wine is usually less than €2.

Expat interview James from Ireland - Portugal - Chamelle Photography Travel blog

All photos ©James / Portugalist.

You can follow James here:

Blog: Portugalist
Facebook: Portugalist

Twitter: @portugalist_com
Instagram: @portugalist_com

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